Saturday, July 30, 2011


 "I don't like his attitude."


"Yeah, I don't like his attitude either."

As heard from the back of the van during a discussion on dogs they know. These comments were directed toward a particularly rambunctious neighborhood dog.

Friday, July 29, 2011


I was going to do a photojournal post today, but then I read this article in the autumn edition of World Vision Magazine, and, somehow, my original post idea seemed rather trivial for the moment (though I still plan on doing it for a later time ;)).

It's a short article under the magazine's "Inspiration" section, so I won't synthesize it here in the hopes that you'll read the full article.

But I do want to share what God laid on my heart after reading it...

"Healing Love" provides the hope that our faith is more than a label. It is an action. And when we are active in our faith and relationship with Christ, others can see the difference and thirst to have the void filled within them by the Living Water which never runs dry.

In this love walk God has me on with Him, reading this article reaffirmed how much I desire to serve Him. How  I pray He would teach me what it means to love as He does, trusting that when I do, it is Jesus others see and hopefully awakens in them the desire to know Him well. I have a long way to go on this road, but thankfully, I have a patient Companion and a trustworthy Guide.

If you have the time to read the article, I would love to hear your thoughts, too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

headband giveaway

Megan of The Remodeled Life graciously offered to feature my shop on her blog as part of her Etsy seller feature. Part of the feature is a giveaway for two custom reversible headbands for the winner plus two to go to a couple of girls in the Dominican Republic when my parents lead a mission there next year.

Please go to Megan's blog to enter the giveaway (you have until this Friday)...Megan also has a shop on Etsy and I love reading about her adventures in remodeling their home and the way she shares her faith.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

creating: a fun way to gift green backs

Gifts cards are a wonderful thing - except when you leave purchasing them until the last minute and you can't find one in the amount you want for the store you want and it's T-minus 1.5 hours until 75% of your children depart for their friend's birthday party.

I could have simply tucked some bills in a card, but came up with this idea instead (and thank the Creator for the inspiration ;) and providing the picture frame at the garage sale we were at this morning):
 Here's what you need...

(I measured the inset of the picture frame and sized a box in Publisher to the exact dimensions. Then I cut and pasted the logo from the website and added the text. Print, cut, done.)

Insert gift message. Insert gift o' green.


I also whipped up a simple bag from red homespun cloth I had on hand, but didn't get a picture of the final presentation since I finished as Brie, Reese and Luke were heading out the door. I'm hoping that, at some point, God will give me the ability to plan much further ahead than is my current pattern.

Friday, July 22, 2011

when your daughter uses the "f" word

No, not that one. The other one. The one which lingers in the minds of many girls and women, bringing forth questions, doubts and self-loathing. The word? Fat.

Brianna used it the other day when she was getting ready for church.

"I don't want to wear this dress with the sash tied in the back.** It makes me look fat."

Immediately, my mind filled with questions: "Where did she get that idea?" "Did someone tell her she looked fat?" "Are her friends talking that way about their appearance?" "How has she already gotten the idea that looking "fat" is a bad thing?" "Is this how eating disorders start?"

I wrack my brain trying to remember any times she may have picked up this message from me. I am usually careful to not comment on how I feel about my appearance on any particular day. But I wonder if there were times when she's watched me dress and picked up on my nonverbal cues that somehow I was dissatisfied with the way a particular piece of clothing fit. There also have been teachable moments when that word was verbalized about other people - opportunities to explain we don't make those kind of comments about others and that what God considers important is our hearts.

Days later I still cannot explain how Brianna came to this conclusion. She's so young. Only weeks away from turning eight. I think I was a pre-teen before I became that conscious of my appearance.

Though I tried my best to sway her thinking, she remained steadfast in her beliefs about the dress and how to tie the sash to better flatter her figure. I tried telling her these were lies from the enemy about her appearance and pleaded that it's what God thinks of her which counts. I'm not sure I got anywhere or handled the situation very well.

However, it has caused me to realize we, as women, need to do battle for each other and the generations of women to come. To take up the sword of the Spirit - God's Word - in prayer and thrust it into the heart of the enemies lies about who we are and how we look. Will you join me in this battle?
see the sash tied in the front? ;)

We can start by praying a piece of Scripture which may be familiar to many of you and is dear to my heart. It's from Psalm 139. Let's say it out loud for ourselves and our sisters today and throughout the day as God brings it to mind...

Lord, thank You for creating our inmost beings and knitting us together in our mother's wombs. I praise you because we are fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. In Jesus' name, Amen. (adapted from Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)

And...if you've encountered this same issue in your own life or can provide some wisdom on how I can minister to my daughter in this area I'd love to hear your thoughts.

**Brie likes to wear her dresses with the sashes wrapped around her back and then tied in the front. Maybe it's because she can tie the bow herself or likes to see the bow. The sash on this particular dress was starting to pull at the seam so I suggested she tie it in the back as it was meant to be.

Monday, July 18, 2011

please pray

Words seem inadequate in a time of loss. So I will be brief. Please visit this family's blog and pray as you are

Friday, July 15, 2011

lasting longer

Despite the intensity of raising four children who are closely spaced in age, I find myself wishing for time to inch along instead of flying by at warp speed. Perhaps then, I would be better able to remember the random, beautiful moments which arbitrarily dot our days.

Praise God for the divine inspiration of the camera and the ability to capture...

Reese teaching Ben how to water the garden.

Ben playing his favorite game of trying to open "daddy car." (Often, Ben greets me in the morning or awakening from his nap with one of three phrases: "daddy," "daddy car" or "daddy car go?"

 and Ben playing on his bike...

Incidentally, it took us three children to realize a parent push handle on a bike is an absolute must. (Because, at some point, your now independent toddler who insists they absolutely can pedal around the block, will realize half a block from home that they are reeaallly tired and can't possible pedal another inch and so you spend the rest of the walk hunched over the tricycle as you guide your child home. This will happen more than once and each time, because you love your child and have high hopes that this time they will make it the entire way, you will let them attempt to toddler version of "Le Tour.") So when Ben turned two, we requested contributions for this trike. Our backs now thank us kindly for coming to our senses. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

His dwelling place

God spoke to me this morning. About where He chooses to dwell.

It hit me in 1 Kings - the part where Solomon dedicates the temple to the Lord. Seven years of building. No expense spared. Constructed of stone, paneled in cedar, the inner sanctuary lined with gold. The best man could create for his God.

Yet, absurd. In human terms, it would be like offering the richest person in the world, with access to the best of everything, a one-bedroom, modernized, bungalow. Nice, yes. But still, it doesn't quite compare.

As Solomon prays a prayer of dedication to the temple, he acknowledge "not even the highest heaven" (from the NIV 1984) can contain the Lord. And that's the absurdity which struck me. For God chose Solomon to construct this temple. He chose to put His Name there. The One who created the universe. The One enthroned in majesty in a temple which cannot be constructed by human hands.

And then I realized, He did this same coming-down-on-high thing again. Only this time, He chose a manager.

God is not above humbling Himself when loving and living with His children is at stake. Yet, that still was not close enough. Because what He really is after is our hearts and when He came down to us again that is where He chose to dwell.

If only we would let Him in.

So I would ask, of you and of you know that God is as close to you as your heart? Have you stopped to wonder that He would chose to live in you? Today, I pray that each of us would feel His work in our lives, transforming our hearts into magnificent dwelling places for His presence. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

worshiping (with four kids in tow)

Last night I headed one of my favorite worship services at my sister's church - one filled with music, words from the Lord, prayers for healing, sharing the Lord's supper and flooded with the Spirit's presence. Sometimes, the air is so thick with His presence, I can almost feel it...sense the whisper of His touch upon my skin as I lift my arms and voice to His throne.

Usually, I am sans kids at the service - either they are with Dave or in their classes at the church. Last night, however with child care on vacation and Dave facilitating a community discussion, the tribe came with me. Which led to a perhaps, comical, worship scenario. Here is how it went:

I hurriedly arrive in the sanctuary, late, and set down the umbrella stroller on my seat. (The umbrella stroller is one of the many tools in my "keep Ben busy and quiet kit). Brie, Reese and Luke situate themselves near the band and study the musicians.

We make it through 1 1/2 songs with me mostly able to focus on the Lord as I rock Ben to the music.

Then his 2-year-old weight takes a toll on my arms so I sit down. He promptly takes this as his cue to begin exploring. I spend the next few minutes attempting him to resettle him in my arms, but the horse is already out of the gate.

Time to break out the stroller. We make it through another song with Ben content. I worship with one arm raised and one hand on the reclined stroller.

Then Luke comes over. He has to "go." Immediately. I ask Brie to take him thinking it will break up the time a little for them. Of course, Reese wants to join them and as Ben is always taking notes on his sibs activities, he now decides the stroller is constricting.

Time to break out the keys. This works for about 30 seconds.

Sigh. I'm down to my last resort - the cell phone.

Phew. And now, back to the Lord.

Then I happen to glance over and see my other three children running around the fellowship area (the bathrooms are located nearby).


The rest of the time I alternate between keeping Reese in our row, answering the "when is this going to be over?" question multiple times, quieting Ben every time he screeches in protest when one of his brothers tries to "help" him with the cell phone, making sure my cell phone minutes were not eaten up each time Ben inadvertently pressed the web connection button, and, of course, worshiping.

But why go through all this? Why stick it out to the gritty end when I clearly was not 100% focused on God?

Because, when your spiritual batteries are as low as mine were, the Lord can take those minutes, those seconds and use them to infuse you with His strength and peace and presence.

Because I hope to change the perception, especially within myself, that children who don't sit quietly in their chairs are a disruption to a worship service.

Because I believe God still delights in me being there and giving as much as I can to Him.

Because I hope one day my children will learn to soak in the presence of the Lord and this is great training ground.

Because being only semi-present in mind and spirit is better than not being there at all.

(The above is one Ben took with my phone. You can see the pews, the worship band and prompt screens in the background. It's now the wallpaper on my phone - a reminder this is place I desire to be even when frazzled and unfocused.)

How about you? Are there times when you desire to worship the Lord but feel you can't give it all? Do you hesitate to begin because your mother-instinct warns you of inevitable interruptions? Or, do you have similar experiences of interrupted worship? How did you make it through?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

red, white and blue firsts

First Fourth as an American citizen. Hooray!

First time walking in a parade. The story: Earlier this year, my husband earned the privilege of filling a vacant seat on city council for our ward and last week received endorsement for his candidacy in the upcoming election. The endorsement meant we were invited to walk in the parade.
Ben got to ride in high style

...and so did Dave

(just kidding) the wheels really belong to this guy

waiting for the parade to start

Brie promptly burst into tears at the news. When queried about what was wrong, she cried, "But then we won't be able to get any candy!" I dryly reminded her I don't let her eat more than a few pieces of the candy anyway. As it turned out, she enjoyed passing out candy to the children along the route and did manage to collect a few pieces for herself when we completed the route. ;)

strawberry shortcake for dessert - yum!
 One of Brianna's friends, who has longed to be in a parade, joined us and told me after the parade that "Being in the parade was even better than watching it because we already have a lot of candy at home and I needed the exercise too." I LOVE when children provide such an adult perspective on an event!

The remainder of the day we set aside for resting, preparing  food for dinner, and gathering together as a family. (No fireworks for us this year:  2 exhausted parents + 4 young children = experiencing the show from a window which really is not the same thing. I (half jokingly) told Dave we could pull up a fireworks show on You Tube, but he wasn't buying it.
First year completed without my grandmother - my Dad's mum. Last year on the Fourth, just before heading to church, we received a call from my aunt to let us know my grandmother ("Nan") had finally joined my grandpa in heaven. It was a peaceful passing with no indication of stress or trauma. Needless to say, plans for parades, fireworks and celebrations of any sort quickly faded into the background of grief. Yet there was joy, because we knew she believed in Jesus as her Lord and many of us felt a peace and indescribable happiness that she was at rest and fully restored in Christ. I miss you Nan - we were blessed to have you with us as long as we did.
At her 90th birthday with her grandchildren

...and with her 8 great-grandchildren (and more on the way)

Monday, July 4, 2011


10 years ago today, Dave asked me this question:

Obviously, I said "yes." Actually, I don't think I even let him finish popping the question before I threw my arms around him, while saying yes and bear-hugging and kissing him. Here's how he did it...

We had spent the morning of the Fourth hanging out and playing tennis. At some point during the game, he accidentally beaned me on the head with the tennis ball (this is relevant for later).

In the afternoon, we drove across town to his grandparent's house for a cookout with his family and to watch the fireworks from their front yard. Shortly after the first rocket burst in the sky, Dave beckoned me to join him in the backyard (I thought he just want to kiss me in a semi-private location :) ). He began to apologize again for hitting me in the head with the tennis ball and asked me if there was anything he could do to make it up to me. I laughed and told him it was okay...and then, he said, "I guess there's only one thing left to say," and he began to get down on his knees. It was at the start of "Will you..." that I threw my arms around him (good thing he was asking me the question and not something like, "Will you take out the garbage?" ;)

My cheeks ached over the next few days from grinning so hard as we shared the news with family and friends. I've always felt this day was the real start of our marriage and our wedding day only 3 1/2 months later a mere formality.

Happy askaversary honey!

Friday, July 1, 2011

tutorial: spirit of independence pinwheel headband

Nothing says summer, Independence Day and carefree days of childhood like a pinwheel. To celebrate these all-too-fleeting events, I decided to create a pinwheel headband (which also will come in handy when we march in our hometown parade on Monday). First, I checked out this tutorial on how to make a standard pinwheel and then used these steps with fabric.

Here's how it's done:
Choose the fabrics for your pinwheels. You could use the same material for the front and back, or, to mix it up, choose two coordinating fabrics. Cut your material into squares. I used two sizes for this headband: 5" (next time, I would reduce this size to 4") and 2.25".

Next, you need some fusible web (I use heat 'n bond). Cut one piece of web per pair of fabrics.

For each pair of square, iron your fusible web onto the wrong side of the material of one of the fabrics. Peel off the paper and then "sandwich" your squares, wrong sides together and iron. The end result should be a double-sided square of fabric.

 If you like, take some pinking shears and pink along the perimeter of your fabric squares.

Now, using a fabric pen or pencil, divide each square into four equal quadrants.Use a pen or pencil that won't show obvious marks or you may need to spend some time cleaning up your marks.

Next, draw a diagonal line from the corner to the center point in each quadrant.

Cut along the diagonal lines, but do not cut all the way to the center point (end your cut about .25" to .5" away from the center point)

Pull the alternating corners of the pinwheel to the center and secure with a couple of stitches.

 Select a button or a bead to dress up the center of the pinwheel and stitch in place.

 Here are a few ways I played with the placement of the pinwheels:

Secure to your headband with several stitches. (I attached mine to a headband we already had on hand, but it would be simple enough to create a band with a rectangle of fabric and some elastic.) If the entire circumference of your headband is elastic like the pre-purchased on I used, you will want to place your pinwheels close together with a slight overlap. If the base of your headband in elastic only at the bottom, you can place your pinwheels a little further apart.

Other ideas:
  • Double up your pinwheels, place a smaller one on top of the larger one. 
  • Attach the fabric pinwheels to a wreath or string together in a garland
  • Secure to a safety pin for a fun brooch.